This latest inspiration manifested itself from the world in my immediate grasp. It has been said that art imitates life, or is it life imitates art? Both are true in this episode of the obscure, yet highly relevant food journal. I’ll share my perspective.
Art imitates life: I’ve recently been indoctrinated into a group that is predominately comprised of Italian nationals. It’s fascinating and all-consuming as I learn to communicate in the unspoken language of cultural interactions, influence, and persuasion. All things I’ve traditionally had a solid grasp on in the typical business world, yet this micro-world is riddled with nuances. I suppose I always thought that the French culture was amongst the most nuanced, yet I am reevaluating that perception.
It is also one of the few times that I’ve been a part of a predominantly female group; ergo communications is not in short supply, so new filters have to be developed to help me keep up. The opportunity to be able to participate in meetings, all in Italian, with a powerful group of ‘do-ers’ is by design. I wanted to up-level my Italian language and there is truly no better master class to be found. There are days that my mind feels as if it is exploding, as messages come across on different platforms in groupings of 20-86 messages at a time. I am pushed to keep up. I love the challenge. I do not have an issue understanding what is being discussed. I am not yet comfortable enough to commit my suggested business recommendations in Italian. Time will help me get past the introverted aspect of my personality that remains relatively well hidden.
Life is based on the art of necessity: I’ll continue with how this recipe was inspired. You now understand that with my induction into this Italian group, I can’t help but channel delectable dishes. And as I happily worked on networking with my new Italian colleagues, one of my tribe suddenly came down with Covid. Quarantine and isolation struck our household, eliminating trips to the supermarket, and quickly freezer and pantry diving took its place as the leading hobby/quarantine culinary sport.
Art imitates life and is based on necessity: The last piece of my inspiration is from my good friend Suzie who had shared an easy chicken piccata recipe that she had improvised one night with great success. Her story stuck in my mind as I reviewed my pantry and freezer staples. And voila! Or Eccola! A new dish was created.
This weeknight quick cacciatore comes together in under 30 minutes and received rave reviews. The preserved artichokes and olives contribute to the texture and salty flavor that is counterbalanced by the tart fresh lemon. The sliced chicken cooks quickly and takes on the flavors of butter, oil, and garlic while the wine slightly poaches the poultry, keeping it moist.
3 TBS butter, used separately
1 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 boneless, skinless breasts chicken
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
1 package (10.58 oz net wt. or 6.35 oz drained) marinated artichoke hearts
2 lemons, washed and sliced into wedges
1 cup white wine
1 can black pitted olives
rice or cooked pasta (optional)
In a large non-stick skillet, over low heat, melt 1 TBS butter and 1 tsp olive oil.
Peel and smash garlic cloves. Rinse chicken breasts, pat dry and slice ¼ inch thick. Salt and pepper on both sides of the freshly sliced poultry. Turn heat up to medium-high and place garlic and chicken in a pan with melted butter and gently brown on each side. Chicken does not need to be completely cooked. Once poultry is slightly browned, remove from pan and set aside.
Add marinated artichokes and the oil from its package to the pan with the garlic. Then add in lemon wedges, the exposed part facing down, and wine. Stir and allow to cook in juices for 5 minutes. Add in olives and warm for 5 minutes. Next, make room in the pan and add the sliced chicken back to the pan to finish cooking and ensure all ingredients are hot. Combine additional butter and stir until melted. Serve and enjoy!
Note: I used Trader Joe’s Ibericos Tapas Style Grilled Marinated Artichoke Quarters.